PHOENIX — Diversification into the healthy/natural snack segment contributed to improved earnings and sales at The Inventure Group, Inc. during the first quarter of fiscal 2010. Net income in the quarter ended March 27 totaled $1,246,397, equal to 7c per share on the common stock, up 40% from $887,175, or 5c per share, in the same period a year ago.

Net sales rose 6% to $31,396,190, led by a nearly 13% gain in sales from Rader Farms, which posted net revenue of $12 million during the first quarter, as well as a 1.8% gain in snack division sales to $19.3 million.

Inventure attributed the snack sales growth to a 36% increase in revenue for Boulder Canyon Natural Foods as well as strong demand for premium private label products. The gains were offset partially by a 7.5% sales decline in T.G.I. Friday’s and a 14% decline in Burger King sales.

“Our diversification into the healthy/natural segment continues to pay dividends as we achieved impressive results in both our Boulder Canyon and Rader Farms divisions,” said Terry McDaniel, chief executive officer. “Growth in Boulder Canyon is directly attributable to continued investments in our people, products and promotion spending as well as strong growth in our rice and bean product. Our success with Rader Farms is attributable to increased velocity with current customers as well as new distribution gains. Also, in line with our strategic growth plans, our premium private label products have been an important revenue contributor and continue to experience strong demand.

“Recognizing that T.G.I. Friday’s and Burger King did not deliver revenue growth in line with recent historical levels, we remain fully committed to growing these brands and are confident that new product development and growing distribution channels will offset any negative trends in specific channels.

“Looking ahead, in addition to driving our base business, we have a strong line-up of new products scheduled to be launched this summer. We are also rolling out our new line of Jamba make at home smoothie kits in strategic West coast markets. We have exceeded internal projections for customer acceptance and will support this launch with strong trade and consumer programs. We are confident in our teams’ ability to continue to drive strong revenue and profit growth for the balance of this year.”

In a separate announcement, The Inventure Group said it has introduced a compostable package for its All Natural Kettle Cooked Potato Chip line marketed under the Boulder Canyon Natural Foods brand. The 7.5-oz bag is made from wood pulp sourced from plantations that have Forestry Stewardship Council or similar certification. The new packaging, which The Inventure Group claims is the first compostable packaging for the natural snack food category, is available at Colorado-area Whole Foods stores at a suggested retail price of $3.49 to $3.99 per package.